The Advanced Reactor Technologies (ART) Program was formed in fiscal year 2015 as a consolidation of three former Department of Energy - Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) programs: Next Generation Nuclear Plant, Small Modular Reactors, and Advanced Reactor Concepts. The ART Program aims to develop new advanced reactor designs and technology to advance the state of reactor technologies, improve competitiveness, and support meeting the nation's energy, environmental, and national security needs.
ART is a national program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) not only here in Idaho, but also at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Illinois, and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in New Mexico. Employees from these national laboratories support and facilitate INL ART work, just as INL employees are in collaboration with ORNL, ANL, and SNL scientists and engineers. International collaborations are also conducted to help foster and leverage advanced reactor technologies technology across the international community.
Here at INL, work is focused specifically on developing a High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR), which will offer enhancements in safety and efficiency. This HTGR has a modularized design, which enables plants with larger power demands to simply build more than one module. Modularization requires no extra design work and increases safety and efficiency by allowing a singular module to run or be stopped at any given time in the event of an incident or a changing need for power. HTGRs also produce process heat during operation, making them ideal for location near other industrial plants that could put this process heat to use in their own production and thus reduce the need for non-renewable energy sources upon which these plants currently rely.
The INL ART is made of up several major program elements, including Fuel Development and Qualification, Graphite Research and Development, High-Temperature Materials, Design Methods and Validation, and Licensing. Nuclear Data Management and Analysis System is a database used across the program to collect data and provide information that is of vital importance to INL and other researchers.